Blocked Punt? The Culprit Might Be Your Punter.
Whenever you see a punt blocked in a football game, the announcers immediately scramble find a culprit in protection. Bear in mind that most of the announcers could not draw up a punt protection if their tv contract depended on it. The one person they rarely mention is the actual culprit…the punter.
One of the first things a good special teams coach does when watching video of the opponent is to look at the operation time for all punters and kickers. One of two things is normally determined by this. We have a chance to block a kick or we have no chance.
A good old fashioned stop watch is often involved with this “analytical” study. There are varying get off times for kickers and punters so we go there right now. The point we want to make is that if your punter is taking too many steps to get the kick off you have problems. Your opponent will smell blood. If they are using proper footwork, many coaches will not even install a block that week.
Too many steps and you will automatically have problems with your operation time, but it does not end there. The block point for the punt return team is also much easier to reach. Special teams coaches study this religiously. Regardless of your punt formation or punting style (normal or rugby) the punt block team wants to get to the block point.
If your punter is taking three steps for a normal punt technique, you are going to get your heart broken. It is just a matter of time. We see a lot of coaches these days try to escape that detail by rugby kicking. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you had better coach steps too.
Rugby Punters Are Often Guilty Too
A rugby punter may be able to take an extra step or two. However, if you allow them to just run to the perimeter you are going to get your kick blocked. A good defensive line coaches pull up a quarterback who breaks the pocket. A good special teams coach is going to pull up your rugby punter with one player. Another player will be the one who blocks your kick inside of that.
So if you are spending all of your time on other things, we have a coaching tip for you. Demand that your punter be a two step punter with traditional kicks. Depending on what foot you teach your rugby punter to lead with, you need to keep their steps to five or less. This will save you a lot of misery even if someone misses a protection block. FirstDown PlayBook has a ton of special teams help too. Take a look by taking a free trial at the top of this page.